University Students Recruited to Help COVID-19 Testing Stations as Scarcity of Staff Continues
(Photo : Image from Unsplash Website) University Students Recruited to Help COVID-19 Testing Stations as Scarcity of Staff Continues

University students are now being recruited in order to help with COVID-19 testing efforts due to scarcity on staff. Training will start for university students across Tāmaki Makaurau who are now being recruited in order to help at the city's ongoing COVID-19 testing stations.

COVID-19 Testing

According to stuff.co.nz, Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield gave a statement during a press conference that the Ministry of Health was reportedly working closely with district health boards in order to find ways in order to fill staffing gaps at these particular testing stations across the regions. He noted that obviously, there is still a strong pressure in the Auckland region.

It was also noted that they have had a couple of curve balls which might not have been expected. First, one of their very first cases was a health worker at Auckland Hospital, so that actually created some challenges for them. North Shore Hospital, where 30 different health staff had direct contact with a COVID-19 patient and it has also created some "additional challenges" according to Bloomfield.

100 Locations of Interest

Meanwhile, some of the staff at Middlemore Hospital have actually been asked to isolate after a certain patient tested positive for COVID-19 just after spending up to four hours in the hospital's emergency department waiting room. A certain option that was being explored was teaching university students how to help with swabbing, according to Bloomfield.

With over 100 locations of interest, according to health.govt.nz, relating to certain places that were visited by individuals confirmed to have the virus, testing sites all across Auckland have reportedly been flooded. People have reportedly been left "furious" after they had to wait over 10 hours in queues, with a number of them turning away even without being swabbed at all.

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Second COVID-19 Vaccination Shot

Amy Wilson, Ministry of Health deputy director-general for health workforce noted that public health officials had all been speaking to universities as well as other tertiary institutions. They did so in order to see how health-related degree and diploma students could actually be trained in order to help with testing. Studies show that unvaccinated people are twice as likely to get infected yet again.

This work was reportedly at an early stage and the ministry was still not able to provide further detail, according to the Ministry of Health deputy director-general for health workforce. A spokeswoman at University of Auckland noted at the Northern Region Health Coordination Center NRHCC that they have approached the university and were also setting up systems in order for students to participate.

It was noted that this will only be open to students two weeks after they have gotten their second COVID-19 vaccination as well as those students located in the Auckland metro area. Students are reportedly encouraged to participate on a voluntary basis but will still be advised that it should not compromise their own academic activities. There are a number of reasons to get vaccinated, find out more.

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Written by Urian B.

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